Tagged in: Utah

Utah Jazz now willing to listen to Donovan Mitchell trade scenarios

After Utah earlier shut down inquiries about All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, rival teams say the Jazz are now showing a willingness to listen on possible trade scenarios, sources told ESPN on Tuesday.

The asking price appears to be steep, but in the wake of Utah’s recent Rudy Gobert blockbuster deal to Minnesota, the Jazz are no longer simply dismissing calls on Mitchell, sources said.

Jazz general manager Justin Zanik alluded to the possibility during a news conference Saturday when asked whether Mitchell was considered untouchable in trade discussions.

“Change is inevitable in the NBA,” Zanik said. “I’m not trying to be cryptic or anything else, but Donovan is on our roster and he’s a very, very important part of what we’re trying to do. Things evolve in the NBA, so I couldn’t sit here and say anybody is [untouchable]. We’re trying to build a championship team, but there’s no intent [to trade Mitchell], at all.”

The Jazz are open to trades across the entire roster, but Mitchell is indeed the organization’s most valuable and coveted player.

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Mitchell, 25, has averaged 23.9 points and 4.5 assists per game during his five-year career with the Jazz, and he has been an All-Star each of the past three seasons. He has four years and $134.9 million remaining on the maximum extension he signed during the 2020 offseason, but the final season is a player option for $37.1 million.

Utah has made the playoffs the past six campaigns, the longest current streak in the Western Conference, but the Jazz have not advanced past the second round during that span.

The organization has undergone major changes in the wake of this year’s first-round exit versus the Dallas Mavericks, including the resignation of coach Quin Snyder, the hiring of Will Hardy to replace him and trades of Gobert and starting forward Royce O’Neale.

“This season wasn’t very much fun this year,” Jazz CEO Danny Ainge said Saturday. “This draft wasn’t fun. Free agency wasn’t very much fun. You’re over the tax, no draft picks, and our team loses in the first round. It wasn’t fun for us. We want it to be fun for our fans and our players, but we just haven’t had much flexibility to do anything over the last little while.”

Ainge and Zanik agreed with Gobert’s assessment after he was traded to Minnesota that the win-now window in Utah had closed. The Jazz’s haul in that deal was headlined by four future first-round picks, as well as recent No. 22 overall pick Walker Kessler.

They received a 2023 first-round pick from the Brooklyn Nets in the O’Neale deal. “We fell short, so we need to recalibrate and try to go and open up the next window,” Zanik said. “Hopefully, it’s a long one. We’ve got work to do to start that.”

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Mitchell scores 25 of 37 points in 3rd, Jazz beat Bulls

Donovan Mitchell scored a Utah-record 25 of his 37 points in the third quarter, Jordan Clarkson added 26 and the Utah Jazz defeated the Chicago Bulls 125-110 on Wednesday night.

Mitchell made a franchise-record seven 3-pointers in the third period on nine attempts. He broke Karl Malone’s team mark of 22 points in a quarter.

Mitchell finished with nine 3-pointers, besting his previous career best of seven.Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter.

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Alexander-Walker, who came to Utah in a Feb. 9 trade from New Orleans, had only nine total points in his first seven matches with the Jazz.

Chicago’s Zach LaVine, who has been affected by a sore left knee, made five 3s and had 33 points in tying his highest scoring output in four months. DeMar DeRozan added 25 points.

The Bulls have dropped seven of nine.

Ayo Dosunmu’s layup trimmed Utah’s lead to 103-99 before the Jazz responded with a clinching run.

Alexander-Walker had two 3-pointers from the corner in a 14-0 run that featured suffocating defense and floor-spacing offense. Rudy Gobert’s free throws capped the run and lifted the Jazz to a 117-99 lead with 4:38 to play.

Mitchell’s huge third quarter pushed the Jazz ahead 89-81 entering the fourth quarter.

Rudy Gobert had 14 points, 20 rebounds and three blocks while Mike Conley had in 14 points and seven assists.

The Jazz played without second-leading scorer Bojan Bogdanovic (left calf strain), along with key reserves Trent Forrest (right wrist sprain), Danuel House (left knee bone bruise) and Udoka Azubuike (right ankle sprain).

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Indianapolis Colts’ Julian Blackmon out for season after tearing Achilles

The injuries just won’t stop for the Colts in 2021, as second-year free safety Julian Blackmon suffered a season-ending torn Achilles in practice Wednesday, the team revealed.

This is Blackmon’s second significant injury in less than two years. He tore an ACL during the Pac-12 championship game while at Utah in 2019. Blackmon, who was selected in the third round of the 2020 draft, recovered quickly enough to play in 15 games and intercept two passes as a rookie.

Blackmon’s season ends with 34 tackles, one forced fumble and one pass defended.

“It’s how we respond that matters!” Blackmon tweeted. “Let’s get this W this week!!” Expect the Colts to add a safety to the active roster, because Khari Willis, George Odum and Andrew Sendejo are the only players at the position presently on the roster.

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Blackmon’s injury adds to what has been a season-long list of injuries for the Colts (2-4). Quarterback Carson Wentz, guard Quenton Nelson, linebacker Darius Leonard, kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, cornerback Xavier Rhodes, wide receiver Parris Campbell and right tackle Braden Smith are some of the key players who have been out or are currently out for multiple weeks due to substantial injuries.

Blackmon had 34 total tackles and forced one fumble in the Colts’ first six games of the season.

The second-year safety was just eight tackles away from matching the mark he set during his rookie season.

Blackmon, despite tearing his ACL during the Pac-12 championship game, was selected by the Colts in the third round of the 2020 draft and made 14 starts as a rookie. He finished that campaign with 42 tackles and two interceptions.

The Colts (2-4) have placed 19 players on injured reserve since the beginning of training camp in late July, with Blackmon set to be the 20th. Indianapolis plays at San Francisco on Sunday night.

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